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Is it Tznius to take public transit

I just received the following serious email from a woman I know in San Francisco.

Since I haven’t actually bought a car as of yet, I have been taking the MUNI and pondering this as the mass of humanity is jammed aboard bumping and grinding into one another as the bus bumps along the rough streets of San Francisco! Tikkun Olam vs Tzunius…

This is actually the first time I’ve thought of this issue, I remember thinking about the tzniusness of public events like rallies and non-mechitzadicke kiddushim – because of precisely what you mention. For instance, tznius may actually be quantifiable by the fact that if everyone on the bus was naked there may be forced penetration and therefore it couldn’t be too kosher.

I can only assume that by tikkun olam you mean out duty as frum Jews to save the planet from the ravages of global warming, but could global warming really be bad for San Francisco, I’ve been freezing my butt off all week riding my bike after work and I have wondered if everyone should buy large vehicles in order to speed up the eminent planet warming we hear of. Then again, global warming will undoubtedly be bad for the tznius industry, as it gets hotter and the ladies begin to do such scandalous things as uncover their elbows and wear flip flops in an effort to cool off.

Which begs me to wonder whether or not Jews, in their constant scrambling to do tikkun olan are even yotze in the mitzvah of environmental protection, do Jews get a mitzvah when they drive a prius instead of a crown vic? Or does driving a prius inhibit the mitzvah of pru-rivu? Having a smaller car may actually discourage people from having as many children as possible, because they don’t make many gas efficient mini-vans.

I am just trying to show you the ways of the gemara, one simple question of bumping and grinding with random strangers on the bus ride in San Francisco can really have such a long lasting halachic responsa and I am not even getting into the question of whether or not a women should even leave the house without her husband in the first place. I also wonder why you would purchase a car when the rabbonom in many places have stated that women should not drive cars and sit in the back seat lest someone think she become frivolous with her driver. What about the fact that by taking a bus, you are acknowledging that you have your own money, when it is clear that your husband owns you…there are so many issues that I can barely scratch the surface of the halachic issues involved. I would suggest you ask your local posek, but since the closest posek lives 400 miles away I’m not really sure what you should do.

Learning more about halachic tznius issues on 4torah.com

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